Arts & Culture

VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

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M.T. Anderson accepts the 2006 National Book Award for Young People's Literature and speaks at a podium with the National Book logo.
Stuart Ramson / Associated Press

Vermont-based author M.T. Anderson is this year's winner of the American Library Association's Margaret A. Edwards Award. It's an annual honor recognizing an author's body of work in the area of young adult literature.

Brian A. Jackson / iStock

With apologies to Henry David Thoreau, I’ve lately come to think that the mass of people, or at least a great many of us, are leading lives of noisy desperation.

A group of students gather around a laptop computer
Meg Malone / VPR

The historical novel Refugee weaves the stories of three refugee families fleeing their homes in different parts of the world and during different time periods: Germany in the 1930s, Cuba in the 1990s and Syria just a few years ago.

courtesy

Rutland filmmaker David Giancola’s latest movie premieres Friday at the Paramount Theatre. Axcellerator is a sci-fi-action comedy with lots of special effects, plenty of familiar backdrops and even a local celebrity or two.

Young Writers Project: 'Fields'

Jan 25, 2019
This week, Essex Junction, Vermont, writer Maecy Odit shares a series of assigned journal entries.
YWP Media Library, photo by Carmella Clark

Chapter 1
Today I am asked to write whatever comes to my mind,
and really nothing is coming to my mind.
So really, my mind is like… a blank field of wheat,
with the wind lightly blowing.
Empty.

Chapter 2
Today I am adding on to this story,
only because once again I have nothing on my mind –
but today there are cows in the field
slowly eating the wheat as if in slow motion.
But they don’t care; it’s as if they are happy to be slow eaters.
They have flies buzzing around their ears and heads,
and I think, How are they not getting distracted by the flies?
I know I would be. Or maybe they are,
but they are just good at hiding it from others.
Or maybe they just don’t want us to know.

Mares: Seeing Yo Yo Ma

Jan 24, 2019
Mares

Just this week, superstar cellist Yo Yo Ma made headlines again when he surprised a small group of onlookers with an outdoor, informal performance in Mumbai, India. One lucky observer said it left him ‘spellbound.’

Author Emily Bernard with her book.
Bayla Metzger / VPR

Emily Bernard has stories to tell. Some are hers and some were passed down by family members, but all of them connect in a deeply personal way to her sense of being as a black woman in America. The essays are collected in a new book called "Black Is the Body: Stories From My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine."

Averyt

Mary Oliver is gone at age 83 – and I feel like I’ve lost a friend, a soulmate, a walking companion.

Drag queens Nikki Champagne, left, Shani (center), and drag king Trey Goodlay are among a new generation of drag performers playing with gender in novel ways.
James Buck / Kristen Scott / Inner Beauty Photography

Vermont’s drag scene has been around for decades, but now a generation of drag queens and drag kings are breaking stereotypes and finding new ways to play with gender on stage. We're talking about how Vermont's drag scene is evolving with new kinds of drag performances.

A black and white photograph of a woman laying on a bed in a Maine cabin.
Donna Gottschalk

Donna Gottschalk, who now lives on a farm in Victory, documented the LGBTQ scene in New York and San Francisco in the 1960s and '70s. Her photos — some of which have never been displayed publicly — are featured in a solo exhibition called “Brave, Beautiful Outlaws” at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

What makes a community sustainable? High school students in Morrisville are trying to answer that question, through interviews and art that explore the stories of local residents.

Burlington Free Press executive editor Emilie Stigliani holds up a phone displaying a Burlington Free Press news story.
Bayla Metzger / VPR

The Burlington Free Press has a new leader. Emilie Stigliani has been named executive editor after a nearly six-year stint at the news organization, serving most recently as its digital director.

The Monumental Arch in Palmyra, Syria in 2003, is one of the 100 photographs of pre-war Syria captured by Shaftsbury photographer Kevin Bubriski in "Legacy In Stone."
Kevin Bubriski

Syria—and its nearly decade-long civil war—has been the subject of countless news stories and foreign policy debates. Syrians fleeing violence from war and the Islamic State weigh heavily in the international conversation about refugees and migration.

In 2003, Shaftsbury photographer Kevin Bubriski started documenting what would become some of the final images of pre-war Syria. His stark black-and-white pictures of the architecture, places and people of Syria are collected in a new book called Legacy In Stone: Syria Before War.

The tops of a couple buildings in Ludlow, with views of Okemo trails on a mountain in the distance against a gray-blue sky.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR File

Last week, Will Novak — who lives in Phoenix, Arizona — got an email that was not meant for him, inviting him to a bachelor party here in Vermont for someone he'd never met. His reply? “Count me in!”

noipornpan / iStock

Recently, with my daughter and two grand-daughters, I watched Mary Poppins make her gracious, technicolor return to the disheveled, precarious lives of the Banks family. Michael Banks is now grown-up and recently widowed, with three little kids of his own. Sister Jane is a labor organizer. Short on ready cash, the siblings are about to lose their childhood home to a money-hungry banker. Enter Mary Poppins, bringing stability and compassion to a world that seems to have lost both.

Photographer Matthew Thorsen's pictures have appeared in "Seven Days" for more than 20 years.
Diane Sullivan / courtesy Seven Days

For more than 20 years photographer Matthew Thorsen's pictures were a mainstay in Vermont’s weekly newspaper Seven Days, capturing the people, events and landscapes of the state and defining the paper’s visual style. He was well-known in Burlington's art and music scenes, as much for his quirky sense of style and shock of bleach blond hair as for his photographs.

Thorsen died on New Year's Day after a yearslong battle with cancer. He was 51. 

Kramer

Stories, as much as anything, root us to place. We’re narrative creatures, after all. So when The Brattleboro Words Project came to my attention more than a year ago, I was all in. Since then, historians have given fascinating talks about literary luminaries in the Brattleboro area.

Mares

In his new film the acclaimed New Zealand film director and producer of Lord of the Rings, Sir Peter Jackson, has all but raised the dead – by means of one hundred hours of film and six hundred hours of interviews with scores of survivors, preserved by the Imperial War Museum in London. For Jackson, it was in part a cinematic labor of love in tribute to his grandfather - a professional soldier who fought through the entire war.

We're talking about a trending desire to get off social media, and what's involved in quitting.
strelss / iStock

As Facebook and other big social media networks increasingly treat user information as a commodity - and as these networks are having big impacts on the world stage - many users are looking to quit. Or at least, they're talking about it. We're looking at where the push to quit is coming from and what's involved in getting off these platforms, for good and for ill.

Young Writers Project: 'Light-finder'

Jan 4, 2019
Lake Champlain Waldorf School student Wyatt Trzaskos wrote a poem whose imagery shows how personal challenges can sometimes appear as monsters.
YWP Media Library, photo by Coyote Farrel

I traveled deep into the Earth,
forging my way to the devil’s hearth,
slipping on the gravely stones,
taking in the faded bones…

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